By Charles Kumolu and Johnbosco Agbakwuru
LAGOS—The Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, has constituted a six-man committee of its members to explore funding options for policing the country, with a mandate to also explore prospects for introducing state police in the country.
The committee comprises the governors of Kwara, Imo, Delta, Ekiti, Bauchi and Sokoto states.
The governors reached the decision late Wednesday night, after consultations with the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, in a meeting of the NGF at the Presidential Villa.
The decision followed ventilations of difficulties faced by the Police, including stagnation of the Police Trust Fund Bill in the National Assembly. The Police boss asked the governors to facilitate its passage by persuading their delegations to the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, the call for state police was, yesterday, flayed by former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, who said state police will turn into a weapon of intimidation by governors.
NGF Chairman, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, who spoke with State House Correspondents at the end of the late night meeting, said the NGF will articulate issues raised by the Police boss to the Acting President, with a view to addressing problems faced by the Police.
He said: “We discussed, and we received a presentation from the Inspector-General of Police. He made a presentation to us seeking our support to introduce media outfits, radio, and television for the force and as well for the Police to embrace technology from the current manual ways of doing things.
“The Inspector-General of Police dominated the whole day of our discussion on issues concerning the Police.
“In some countries, the ratio of police to the population is 1:10, but in Nigeria, we have 1:400.
“So, they are having so many difficulties in terms of funding which we agreed that with the way things are going, through the budgeting process, we cannot be able to fund police.
“So, the Inspector-General of Police made us know that there is a Trust Fund Bill which is before the National Assembly and he asked for our support and that of members of the National Assembly, especially the House of Representatives.
NGF names committee on State Police
“On our own part, we have put a committee in place. It consists of the governors of Kwara, Imo, Delta, Ekiti, Bauchi and Sokoto states. The committee is to interface with the Committee on Police and take the matter before the Acting President for further action. It is important for our nation.
“Besides this, there is the issue of state police which is being discussed, and we are coming up with so many options. We are expecting the committee will consider safe ways of policing in Nigeria.”
Also speaking to journalists, the IGP said security challenges in virtually all parts of the country were the dominant issue at the meeting, stressing that matters that bordered on security require a collective effort to confront.
He said the essence of the meeting with the governors centred on “our efforts to address some of the challenges in the Police unit.
“We had a fruitful discussion with them, and obviously, all of them are concerned about security in virtually all parts of the country.
“They are ready to support the Police Force to see how we can address some of the challenges.”
On the Acting President’s charge for reinforcements in the security apparatus of the country, he said: “Obviously, it is a normal procedure. When we have challenges, we normally reinforce.
“Having insecurity all over the country requires the participation of every citizen of this country. We have to put our heads together to address all the security challenges.
“The governments are doing well, they are trying to bring communities closer, and I think it takes a long time, but by and large, with the cooperation of community members and all the security agencies, we have met to synergise.”
It’ll bring anarchy — Tsav
Reacting to the proposals on state police, Tsav told Vanguard yesterday:
“If the governors have state police, they will do what they like. What causes problems in our society is injustice. When peoples’ rights are infringed, they go to the Police to seek justice, and when they don’t get justice, a problem arises. We should not make the mistake of allowing the governors to have state police.
“Doing that will amount to looking for trouble. A Police Commissioner will be at the beck and call of a state governor. He will do whatever a state governor wants him to do, and these governors are very desperate and want to remain in power at all costs.
“When they have state Police, they can use it to harass and intimidate their opponents. We are not yet ripe for state police. I think what the governors should do is to support the Police by allowing them to do their job without interference. When we are civilised, we can start thinking about that but not now.”